A US judge has approved Apple's proposed $100 million settlement of a class action bought by disgruntled iPod owners.

The owners were angry that the iPod failed to deliver the results they had expected, as the promised rechargeable battery life didn't endure throughout the product's lifetime.

Apple had failed to explain the limitations of its chosen battery technologies on its first three generations of iPod. Consumers didn't understand that batteries degrade over time.

Approval of the settlement means as many as 1.3 million iPod owners will be able to replace their batteries at Apple's expense. The settlement applies to consumers across the US.

"All these people are going to get relief, and we think that's a big victory for them," said Steve Williams, lead counsel for the suit and an attorney for Burlingame's Cotchett, Pitre, Simon & McCarthy, told the San Mateo Times.

Consumers who acquired the first two models of iPod can claim either $25 in cash, or a $50 credit note against buying a new one. If they have already paid for a replacement battery, they can claim up to half the money back.

Consumers with a third-generation music player can claim a free replacement battery if the one they have fails.

Apple recently slashed the cost of replacing an iPod with a faulty battery for US customers last month, but in the UK and Europe its "Battery Replacement Scheme" appears mired in confusion.

Despite numerous requests for clarification, the company has as yet been unable to tell Macworld how much it charges UK customers in order to replace a battery in an iPod.

The last known cost for the scheme was £79. In the absence of any fresh pricing details, it can only be assumed the UK price remains unchanged - the equivalent of $130 or more at today's exchange rates - or double what Apple now charges its US customers.